PLEASE READ THE DESCRIPTION IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE ACCOMPANYING LINKS SO SEE IF THIS HIKE IS APPROPRIATE BEFORE YOU RSVP.
Location: North Fork Stillaguamish River Valley near Arlington
Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks; (425)[masked]; http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Parks
Roundtrip: about 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Contact: Snohomish County Parks
Special Note: Dogs permitted on leash. All farm buildings are closed to public.
This is a great hike into both the past and future. For the past—you’ll be hiking through a former dairy farm and along an abandoned rail line to a town that exists now only in memory. And the future—the farm will eventually become a Snohomish County Park and the rail line a 28 mile trail from Arlington to Darrington. While development of these facilities is slated for the future, the farm and trail are now in the public domain and open for exploration. Enjoy them before they do get their facelifts in which afterwards they are sure to become popular destinations.
(we will be starting at the other end and walking towards this point) Start by walking the farm road between the big red barn with its cow mural left and the private residence right—be sure to respect the residents’ privacy and enjoy the farm buildings just from the road. The old path drops down to a fertile floodplain, all once part of a dairy operation, then afterwards, a golf course. In 1998, Snohomish County bought this 112 acre gorgeous tract along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River with Conservation Future Funds.
Access the old rail road bed here, which was once part of the Northern Pacific Railroad and now part of the Whitehorse Trail. Parts of this 28 mile trail are officially open, but the section here hasn’t yet been improved to trail standards. It’s easily walkable, albeit a little rocky. Head west across the former farm and in .75 mile, come to a gorgeous trestle spanning the river. This is a good short hike turn around spot, but feel free to continue another 1.5 miles along the trail. On this stretch primarily through the private Pilchuck Tree Farm, enjoy excellent views of the river. Enjoy too perhaps a glimpse of an eagle, coyote or a duck or two. Turn around near a small wetland about 2.25 miles from your start. The trail continues another mile towards the Centennial Trail, but it is not recommended until it is improved. (this has been improved and we will start here)
Hiking with a group is very different from hiking as an individual. Each hiker has a responsibility to the group, as the group has a responsibility to each hiker. Participants should plan to stay with the group for the duration of the hike.
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
Dress for the Pacific Northwest out-of-doors: expect rain, snow, sunshine, fog and everything between.
You Should Have:
BACK PACK WITH
HIKING BOOTS OR HIKING SHOES,
MAP & COMPASS, FIRST AID KIT,
Extra clothes, at minimum, should include a warm hat, gloves and a warm shirt/top. Cotton is not advised. Synthetic materials such as fleece and wool are better alternatives.
Some circumstances could require you to spend the night outside.
Being prepared is for your safety and the safety of the group.
Dogs are required to be leashed on this hike and have their owner present. If you decide you want to unleash your dog, it must be under voice control, stay on the trail, and away from leashed dogs. Give your self and dog adequate space from others. Please respect other hikers on the trail and restrain your dog when approaching or being approached by others
Basically, the closer in and more popular the hike and bigger the group the more insistent I am that dogs remain on leash. You should come expecting to have your dog leashed at all times.